Westport demonstrating LNG truck

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Updated Jan 13, 2010

Potential customers will have firsthand experience

With funding assistance from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC), Westport Fuel Systems began a two-year demonstration vehicle project for a Class 8 truck equipped with its liquefied natural gas (LNG) system. Westport says this project will allow potential customers to experience firsthand the performance of a LNG-fueled truck, which slashes air pollution compared to traditional diesel-powered engines.

MSRC is providing $100,000 in funding to help purchase the Class 8 truck, which is fitted with Westport HD technology: a Westport GX engine and High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI) LNG system. “With this demonstration vehicle, we look forward to offering vehicle operators an opportunity to experience the benefits of using the Westport HD technology,” says Dr. Michael Gallagher, president and chief operating officer of Westport.

In the last two years, Westport says MSRC has awarded it $3.5 million in funding to provide rebates to buyers that purchase Westport HD technology; however, recognizing that prospective customers want direct validation that the LNG-powered GX engine can haul the same loads as their current diesel trucks, MSRC is supporting Westport’s request to re-assign $100,000 in funding for a demonstration truck.

“Westport HD for Class 8 heavy-duty vehicles utilizes leading-edge technology that significantly reduces emissions of nitrogen oxides and greenhouse gases while maintaining the power, torque and reliability of the diesel engine,” Gallagher says. “We applaud and appreciate the MSRC’s efforts to support the adoption of this technology and are pleased to be a part of their work to fund local clean transportation projects to improve our air quality.”

Since its introduction two years ago, Westport says it has sold more than 150 Westport HD systems to customers in the United States. As part of Westport HD, HPDI is designed to inject natural gas at high pressure into the engine, which reproduces key assets of diesel engines, such as high efficiency over the speed and torque operating range, high torque capability and robust reliability; furthermore, vehicles employing this technology have their nitrogen oxide emissions reduced by about 40 percent relative to average diesel emissions requirements, and greenhouse gas emissions reduced by up to 21 percent relative to comparable diesel trucks.

Over the next two years, Westport will demonstrate the vehicle with prospective customers in the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). As part of the agreement with MSRC, the truck must stay within the boundaries of the SCAQMD for 75 percent of its operation.

Safety technology added to Navistar work trucks
DuraStar, WorkStar offer Bendix ESP Electronic Stability Control

Navistar announced that International DuraStar and WorkStar medium-duty and severe-service trucks now offer the latest advancements in electronic stability control technology.

International brand medium-duty and severe-service vehicles offer the Bendix ESP Electronic Stability Program, which is designed to deliver full-stability performance for a variety of applications – from ambulance and fire trucks to utility, government and construction vehicles.

Bendix ESP is an ABS-based truck stability system designed to recognize and assist with both rollover and vehicle under- and over-steer driving situations and a variety of road conditions. The system is designed to monitor a variety of vehicle parameters and sensors continuously to determine if the vehicle is reaching a critical stability threshold; when such a situation develops, the Bendix ESP system will intervene quickly and automatically to assist the driver. The system is designed to apply vehicle brakes selectively, as well as dethrottle the engine typically faster than the driver.

“From snowplows and utility trucks to mixers and construction vehicles, truck customers are constantly looking for ways to prevent crashes and improve the safety of their fleet,” says Jim Hebe, senior vice president of North American sales operations for Navistar. “With this latest stability system, we can provide maximum rollover mitigation and help prevent loss-of-control situations that often result in rollovers on dry, wet, snow- and ice-covered roads.”

CCJ Test Drive: 2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid

Chevrolet’s 2009 Silverado Hybrid offers all the room, comfort and performance of the company’s conventional full-size pickups, but thanks to GM’s Two-Mode electric-gas drive system and Active Fuel Management V8 engine, this Silverado can cut in-city operating costs by as much as 40 percent compared to similar nonhybrid pickups, while delivering 10 to 20 percent better highway fuel economy. EPA ratings, which now reflect real-world numbers, show the 2WD Silverado Hybrid gets 21 mpg city and 22 hwy, while the 4×4 models get 20/20.

Loosely translated, this means if your company puts 25,000 miles a year on a pickup, and most of those miles are stop-and-go city driving, the new Hybrid can knock roughly $1,200 a year off the fuel bill if gas is $2.50 per gallon and your current truck is getting 15 mpg in the city. (The Hybrid package adds about $3,000 to a comparably equipped model.)

GM, in collaboration with BMW and Daimler, has developed a special Electrically Variable Transmission (EVT) with two 16-hp electric motors and special gearing inside to work in conjunction with GM’s 300-hp 6.0L V8, which switches between four and eight cylinders as you drive. Think sophisticated shiftless automatic. The power for the electric motors comes from a pack of state-of-the-art 300-volt nickel-metal hydride batteries located under the rear seat, where it takes up virtually no additional space. GM’s Hybrid Optimizing System (HOS) controls the smooth transition between the transmission and engine by letting the onboard computer system instantly determine whether the V4/V8, the two electric motors by themselves, or any combination thereof, are best for what the driver’s right foot is asking.

These transitions are almost invisible when you’re driving the truck, although you definitely feel a noticeable “oomph” factor when accelerating from a dead stop since the Silverado Hybrid accelerates stronger and faster than a nonhybrid. That’s one of the benefits of having a pair of 16-hp electric motors adding muscle to the dual-stage 300-hp 6.0L V8.

2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid Quick Specs
Make/model: Silverado Crew Cab 4Ă—4
Engine: 300-hp 6.0L V8 w/Active Fuel Management
Transmission: 32-hp Electrically Variable Transmission (EVT)
Suspension: Z85 package
Battery system: 300-volt nickel-metal hydride (NiMH)
EPA mileage: 20 city/20 highway
Fuel tank: 26 gallons
Curb weight: 5,881 lbs.
Max towing: 5,900 lbs.
Base price: $41,170-$47,305 plus $975 destination charge

Cummins announced the temporary closing of its Columbus MidRange Engine Plant in Walesboro, Ind., as a result of Chrysler’s decision to idle its manufacturing operations while it undergoes bankruptcy reorganization. The plant is the sole manufacturing site for the 6.7-liter turbo diesel engine used in the heavy-duty Dodge Ram pickup truck.

Detroit Diesel Corp. delivered its first two BlueTec emissions technology customer demo units to Schneider National. The Freightliner Cascadias, equipped with Detroit Diesel DD15 engines, already have logged more than 45,000 miles and will be integrated into Schneider’s fleet to gain real-world experience with the technology.

Navistar launched its Custom Engineering group to make modifications and add unique features to its heavy and severe-service trucks based on customer requests.

Kenworth T800 Liquefied Natural Gas trucks now are available for factory order and production. The truck is equipped with the Westport Innovations LNG fuel system and Westport GX 15-liter engine, which meets U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board emissions certification standards.

ArvinMeritor added two product families to its commercial aftermarket portfolio: remanufactured Allison automatic transmissions, and all-makes power steering gears and pumps. The transmissions will be sold under ArvinMeritor’s Mascot product brand.

Caterpillar will remanufacture Eaton heavy-duty transmissions at its facility in Summerville, S.C., beginning in the third quarter of this year.